Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Napa Valley 2 March 5, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 11:41 pm
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Took the Silverado Trail up to Calistoga for my reservation at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. But that’s two hours max. The Calistoga Bottled Water company has a nice iron sculpture out front. I liked the dog.


There is a wine train at the historical station. This is the third one I have run across with the same paint scheme, Reno & ?


I finally found a safe place to pull over and photograph the mustard plants. They are so pretty. Got some good shots of my baby, too.


This was the second day on my way to Cloverdale. It was my favorite house in the Valley. I looped up and was planning on taking Geysers Road back, but when I got there it said locals only and was a very washed out gravel road. Because of the recent and ongoing rain, I decided to forgo that and double back, something I hate to do, but wisdom prevailed again.


I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the cemetery in Calistoga. I don’t know any of the history but it always interesting to see what time has done. The rains made all the mosses green and perky and the drippy Spanish moss made everything spooky.


I decided to forego the $15 to see the California Old Faithful geyser, one of only three regularly spouting in the world. They had plenty of pictures to show and it didn’t look all that impressive. If I ever get to the one in New Zealand, I will come back to round out my collection. There were these steaming pools nearby. I bet on a hot summer day you would never know they were there, but the cold air tattled on them.


This may not show it, but there was snow on the hills just above Calistoga. Made me glad I was missing the stuff at home. Probably two feet at the old house, but none at the new. So glad we moved!


The Internet doesn’t tell you how level the sites are, and Friday night with the rain I didn’t want to put Lynx blocks out to level the very sloping number 4. The campground host let me change to #5, but in the morning I had a note saying someone was coming in for Saturday night. So I cruised the park for flat sites and changed it up at the reservation kiosk. Number 41 was very nice with the creek behind me.


I have found a way to pack my wooden stool inside that solves my biggest issue with it. It was always in the way in the aisle. A good strong bungie cord keeps it in place. I have a D ring mounted on the bed rail. The clear boxes on the left are working out well with velcro on the bottom. I can bring them in the kitchen, load them up and then take them out to put in place.

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Late October Arizona jaunt November 5, 2017

I  really wanted to get to the Grand Canyon after last years aborted attempt. This year my sister-in-law was available to go with me. She handled the confined quarters well, and was a great companion. There was a controlled burn nearby which allowed smoke to fill the canyon. It was better in the mornings, and progressively worse as the day went on. No camera can really do justice to the Grand Canyon, especially not just a cell phone, but I still wanted to record the visit. Nancy made fun of me because most people take pictures of their grandchildren, I take pictures of my truck and camper. But hey, I have fans to keep happy.

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Then we went to Monument Valley and stayed at Gouldings Campground. There aren’t a lot of other options, and with a novice camper along I wasn’t going to ruin it by suggesting boondock camping. The second picture shows my new entrance step, $19.99 at Ikea. I added sand tape to the steps so it isn’t slippery. It doesn’t stow as easily, but is so much steadier than the folding one I ran over. And even just an inch or two taller makes a huge difference in comfort getting in and out.

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I usually shrink the images a bit on this blog to make it easier to view on phones and tablets, but I just didn’t have the heart to shrink these (I had to after all, but left them as large as possible). It is such a awe inspiring landscape. Nothing prepared me for it.

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The loop road is open to high clearance vehicles, but pretty rough. My Tacoma and Bobcat handled it well, but we were rockin’ and rollin’ in places (well, I guess not really rollin’ – that would be tragic)

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Then we headed for Canyon de Chelly. I don’t know exactly where this lunch stop overlook was, but I had been looking for a place to pull over for lunch for quite a while and there was nothing but sagebrush and no pull outs at all. Came around a corner and found a wide spot with this as the view. Amazing.

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I have been to Canyon de Chelly before, but it is still impressive. The cottonwood trees were flaming yellow.

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Next stop was Petrified Forest. More badlands with awesome color variations. IMG_7401IMG_7403IMG_7404

And the last stop was Meteor Crater. I haven’t been there for 30 years. The crater is the same, but my have the visitor services changed. A nice museum and buildings, with a hefty entrance fee to boot ($16 per). But I really wanted Nancy to see it. IMG_7408

I hadn’t really researched camping options in Flagstaff. The KOA was even full. They recommended Greer’s just up the street, but they wanted $33 with no external services (no bathroom at all). So we decided to get a motel instead. The snarky employee at Greer’s said we wouldn’t find anything because even the rents in town were $2,000 a month. We had passed the Hotel Aspen Inn and Suites and I had noticed it looked nice. So when it came up on my Kayak search as $37.50 a night we shot on over there. With taxes it ended up being $10 more than the camping, but for that price we got 2 queen beds, 2 hot showers, TV, Wi-Fi, heat, and 2 breakfasts. And the employees were gentle and kind. It got down to 27 degrees that night, so I am glad we did it.

 

Carizzo Plain April 10, 2016

 

This was the weekend for the Wander the West get together at Carizzo Plain. I got there but couldn’t find the dispersed camp, even though I went back and forth twice. It was raining and mucky, and I just chickened out. Headed for Morro Bay instead. I hope a good time was had by all, and I look forward to the reports.

Carizzo entrance      WTW mud

I have a few mods to share. I made a campsite occupied sign out of plastic corrugated sign material. It is called Coroplast. It is lightweight and waterproof. It came with a flimsy metal stake for putting in lawns, but the Death Valley gravel wouldn’t let it penetrate. So now I just clip it to 2 one gallon water bottles. I am hoping this solves my ongoing problem with losing my site even though I paid for it. Unfortunately with a camper you take it all with you. And I don’t want to leave anything too valuable out to claim it.

sign2      sign 1
With some leftover I made two turnbuckle covers that have screening to allow air flow without bugs. It really helps when the fan is sucking out to have cooler air coming in.  I blatantly copied this but can’t for the life of me find it now. He used a picture frame and bungee cords. Mine is lighter and uses the existing slides to keep it in.

vent 1     vent 3    vent 2

I also hung a cargo net I had leftover from my Toyota Highlander from the knobs on the sliding cubbies. It corrals my shoes yet allows opening the cubbies if necessary. I copied this from Bill Harr (Bill’s version). His is first, mine is next.

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I also got pictures of the ironing board inside as a table, since I shared it on WTW but didn’t have a picture.

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I also needed a better way to corral my step stool. I lost the carpeted area that held it with velcro when I installed the Dometic. So I made two loops through the heater vents with zip ties. That lets me use a bungee to connect around the step. I am really trying not to make any holes in my rig. Takes some creativity, but that is half the fun.

step bungie     step bungie 2

This was the first trip with the Dometic and I have to figure out how to pack it better. But I was so pleased with the way it operated. My secondary battery was a little low when I left, so it was having trouble coming down to temperature, plus I put warm drinks in instead of pre-chilled as advised. So I grabbed the ice chest just in case. But in retrospect, the ice chest rides well in the space, is velcroed down, and fits more cargo than the Action Packer I usually put staple food supplies in, so I will probably switch the ice chest to my food locker. If I pack it with interior containers, I would have the benefit of having an extra ice chest if necessary. Double win! Plus the nice flat, metal top could be cooked on if necessary due to poor weather (like this weekend).

So it was an interesting trip with some high points and some low points, but the adventure continues.